The Haywire Head

Something about my focused, almost rhythmic pace while I was washing my car yesterday had me deep in thought. They weren’t the healthiest of thoughts, but such is the way my head works sometimes.

Before any sort of travel, I always freak out a bit. Or maybe it’s more than a bit. What if I die? What if my plane crashes? Will my family know that I love them? Will they be able to find my car at the airport? What about my bills? And the cat? Is anyone else going to care about refilling the bird feeder and providing a buffet to my winged friends? Will my parents be upset at the state in which I left the spare room-turned-office (a semi-cluttered catch-all that I’m making slow progress on), or will it sit — untouched — for months before anyone’s able to even think about going in there to make sense of it?

Then I start to come down on myself: I knew I should’ve done that last load of laundry. And weeded the garden a bit more, because it’s turning into a viney wad of mayhem. And thrown out all those silly bags of frozen broccoli and carrots that I’ve managed to accumulate. And vacuumed. And thrown more clutter out. Because, really, what kind of daughter would I be for leaving all that junk to someone else?

And then the insanity starts rolling in: Why can’t they make a pill that you can take in case you know your plane is going to crash, but which — if your plane ends up not crashing — doesn’t actually kill you? Maybe it just knocks you out for a while. Why can’t we have parachutes on an airplane? Or super-duper insulated suits to protect us against the elements (Felix Baumgartner tested and approved, natch) in case we’re able to jump to safety?

See? Insanity.

Compared to cars, air travel is incredibly safe. And even though I know this, my brain still likes to go haywire before each trip. I pray at every take-off, every landing and every night I go to sleep in a hotel room far from my own cozy bed. While any day could be our last, it seems like pushing the envelope — even if it’s just a routine flight somewhere — gets you a little closer to it. But today wasn’t it for me. And I hope tomorrow isn’t, either. And even though I’m back in one of my least favorite places in the country, I’m thankful for making it here in one piece.

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